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  • Item Category: Ethnic, Folk & Native American Art
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Sep 30, 2007
  • Channel: Auction House


Antique carved wooden carp. This carp hung over a Japanese fireplace to adjust the height of kettle over the fire. The carp is 17 inches long and 10 inches high at the tail. An iron hook the jizai kagi is attached at the bottom. The carp has a carved ball in his mouth that rotates.

The center of a traditional Japanese home was the irori - the fireplace in the middle of the room. Handing over the irori was a hook called the jizai kagi . This is an adjustable hook used to hang a kettle or pot over the fire coals in the sunken hearth. It is made of rope strung through a piece of bamboo. The lever on the jizai kagi is called kozaru or little monkey, because it climbs up and down the rope depending how close to the heat you'd like your kettle to be. The kozaru was often carved in the shape of a carp or other water related motif. Water being the anti-thesis of fire this served as a talisman against the spread of fire.

Sunken hearths known as irori are the home of the Japanese fire god.

The cozy Japanese hearth is traditionally found just w you would expect it: in old thatched, wood-framed farmhouses. You may also, occasionally, come across them in rustic-style restaurants and tea ceremony rooms, w water is heated in an iron kettle suspended over a charcoal
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